Maple Grove, PA (September 18): Going into day two of qualifying for the True Value Keystone Nationals, Team Exide took advantage of a solid first day performance to work on their race day tune-up. After qualifying in the number two position...
Maple Grove, PA (September 18): Going into day two of qualifying for the True Value Keystone Nationals, Team Exide took advantage of a solid first day performance to work on their race day tune-up.
After qualifying in the number two position after the first two qualifying sessions, Dan Olson used the solid performance as a chance to experiment with a tricky track that is having many competitors losing traction at the top end of the track. "We are going to some things to try to eliminate the tire spin at the top end," said crew chief Dan Olson prior to their first run of the day.
In that run, Schumacher went out and ran a solid 4.665 ET at 306.01 MPH without a hint of tire smoke and leaving them in the number four position. In comparison, many other cars still battled the track at the transition point of concrete to asphalt. "It did exactly what we wanted it too," said Olson, "just not as quick of ET as we would have liked."
The last chance for the day to improve on qualifying positions yielded yet another consistent ET and MPH for the Winston Championship points leader. Finishing with a 4.656 ET at 306.43 MPH confirmed what Olson had tried earlier in the day. "We are ready for race day," said Schumacher after another successful pass down the famed Maple Grove quarter mile.
"We would love to be in the number one spot," said car owner Don Schumacher, "but we are here to go rounds and get points to keep us on top of the points standings and that means getting a consistent handle on the track for Sunday."
Team Exide will face Cory McClenathan in the first round. McClenathan qualified his MBNA dragster in the number eleven position with a 4.729 ET at 260.04 MPH. The U.S. Nationals winner from two weeks ago, McClenathan has always been a friendly rival of Schumacher. "Cory and I are good friends, but I owe him for taking us out at Indy," said Schumacher referring to his semifinal loss two weeks ago at the U.S. Nationals. "We would really like to win this one for our sponsor," added Schumacher who spent Thursday at Exide's corporate headquarters in Reading.
Other notable first round matchups include Mike Dunn against Doug Kalitta and Kenny Bernstein paired with Larry Dixon. Final eliminations are scheduled to begin at 11am ET with the forecast for clear skies and mild temperatures.